Join columnist Ben Frederickson for a live STL sports chat

Join columnist Ben Frederickson for a live STL sports chat

Ben Frederickson answers all of your Cardinals, Blues, St. Louis City, Mizzou and SLU questions in Tuesday's 11 a.m. live chat.

    Greetings, chatters. Happy Arenado Day. I imagine the Cardinals' new third baseman will get much of the attention today, but a reminder that we can talk any topics you want. But first let me tell you that the best meme contest has been decided, and it went to the person who photoshopped John Mozeliak's head on the Michael Jordan photo from The Last Dance where he says, "And I took that personally." Let's roll . . .
    Between the light return and Rockies' contingent cash commitments, it sure seems like all parties agree that Arenado will be opting out and hitting the free agency market. Do you get that sense from the Cards' statements?
    The opposite, according to the horse's mouth. Arenado said today he wants to be in St. Louis long term. He pointed out himself that he also said he once said that about Colorado. But, he said, sticking around is his plan. Said he knows the Cardinals will always compete, and that he's had a fondness for Busch Stadium and Cardinals fans for a long time. He's close with Paul Goldschmidt, and has great respect for Yadier Molina. He said all the right things. Of course, actions will speak louder than words. He has two opt outs available, one after the 2021 season and one after the 2022 season. It was clear based on comments made my members of Rockies front office today that they felt Arenado was gone no matter what after 2021 so they needed to trade him now to get a better haul than a comp draft pick after he opted out at the upcoming season's end. The Rockies felt they got 3-4 players from the Cards that would have been around the same talent level as the one pick they would have gotten from Arenado opting out if they let a sour situation linger. Rockies said Arenado requested a trade and they tried to move him quietly last year, but then tabled it when word got out and no appealing deals emerged.
    Hi, Ben. Thanks for your time. With the way he pulled off the Arenado deal, I don't think I'd want to play poker with Mozeliak. I think the Ray Sadecki-Orlando Cepeda deal has to be among the best St. Louis trades. I have a question about Arenado's contract: it's been reported that the players' association had to sign off, making sure that the deferred payments don't minimize the value of the deal. But, if the player involved in the trade is happy with the terms, than why should it need the players' association's approval? I'm not anti-union, but it just seems like this is a case of another party unnecessarily getting involved. Your thoughts please. Thanks for the chat.
    I see your point but it's also in the best interest of the players' union to make sure a precedent is not created that can later be used against other players. Contracts and trades are all built off of other contracts and trades. Every time a player settles for less than his value, or accepts a deal he did not have to accept, then that can be viewed as losing ground on the player front. I'm not saying I always agree with the approach. Just explaining it. Arenado says, and I have no reason to doubt him, that he's here for the long term. The union thinks, great, but let's not get in the habit of taking less or giving up opt-outs that you don't have to.
    Full credit to the Cards for making a trade that only the most diehard in these chats ever thought truly possible. But while this is a great day for Cardinals' baseball, it's rather bleak for baseball in general.

    Colorado is now added to the growing list of markets where fans simply don't care what's happening down at the ballpark. Seeing your franchise's icon get traded for a bag full of balls and some fungo bats to a smaller market in what's a naked salary dump is certain to leave a sour taste in Denver fans for years, if not decades. As a sport, baseball can't survive when only a handful of teams seem interested in actually winning in any given season.

    Ben, a collective bargaining showdown is coming between the owners and players at the end of the season. How would you go about giving teams not just an incentive to win, but a mandate to give it their all each year to prevent this endless cycle of tank and rebuild that's threatening to kill interest in baseball in all but a few markets?
    Bobo, cheer up.
    It's OK to feel good for a day.
    I'd recommend it, actually.
    The chat needs it.
    Today should be a rare #HappyChat.
    You are totally right about the dark cloud hovering over the labor situation in baseball.
    The bad blood between owners and players continues to raise fair questions about what comes after whatever kind of season we get in 2021.
    And yes, teams are using that uncertainty, both about 2021 and what comes after it, as an excuse to field teams that are not trying to compete.
    What I would like to see is the postseason not expand, because I agree with the players that it will encourage teams to do less, not more.
    I would also like to see revenue sharing stop for teams that are not spending to a certain level.
    A salary floor of sorts would be welcomed here, and it might as well arrive because now owners are more or less treating the luxury tax as a salary cap.
    What if teams that did not win a certain percentage of games could not get revenue sharing?
    I'm open to all ideas but the biggest problem is some of the owners who don't view winning as the goal, and then there are the other owners who won't call them out or push for change.
    Bill DeWitt Jr. ,to his credit, is about winning.
    He reminded everyone of that today.
    But he's not going to bang on other owners for not sharing his competitive spirit.
    It's a close fraternity, and to be honest more teams that don't want to compete helps the Cardinals do better.
    That was a steal of s trade. Im surprised mo said they might not be done. Would like wong to return if they could off load carp somewhere
    If I had to guess today, I think Carpenter will be on this team and Wong will not be. News about the DH could change things, depending on what free agents are looking for cheap deals. The Cardinals spent all offseason saying their payroll needed to come down, then pulled a trade for the biggest contract in club history. I'm done trying to predict Mozelika's offseason moves. He's in Doug Armstrong mode.
    I heard something about Stan giving a deposition over skype earlier this week. Do you know what I'm talking about and can provide more details? Here's hoping for an expansion franchise!
    The Business Journal reported he sat for his deposition last week. I have no reason to doubt that. The depositions have been going on virtually for some time now, and they will continue through February. They are of course under an order of protection so no details at this time as to what was said, found, etc. That all comes out if it goes to court. I understand the desire to have an NFL team here in STL, but I have no reason to believe a settlement has been offered, or would be accepted. And if that does happen, there's no evidence as of today that an expansion team would be any part of a potential settlement.
    Is the unnecessary extension for Carpenter ultimately responsible for letting Wong walk? Put another way, if Carp was a FA would the Cards still have Wong (edman, while having potential, ain’t a GG or OBP man)
    That would be an impossible line to trace so directly. Carpenter's extension did not keep the Cardinals from adding Arenado, who will hold the biggest contract in team history. So, I have a hard time believing it would have been the factor in keeping the Cards from picking up the option on Wong. Wong's option was not picked up for two reasons that I can tell. First, the Cardinals saw it as one of the few unlocked levers they could pull to create some financial wiggle room. The second part is the current market, which is trending in a very bad direction for non-elite all-around stars, would suggest Wong's $12.5 million owed in 2021 was probably an above-market evaluation. The next deal Wong signs, whether here or elsewhere, might not match that annual average value.
    St. Louis CITY SC Sporting Director Lutz Pfannenstiel has been linked with a job for an English Premier League club. Have you heard anything adding substance to these rumors? Will Lutz or the club issue a statement reaffirming his commitment to the club and its future?
    He posted a tweet saying he believes CITY is the "most exciting project in international soccer/football" and asked that things not get lost in translation.
    That read to me like he's shooting down those rumors.
    I asked about it, and was told the same.
    Any news on when we will know that Yadi is officially resigned? And Mo mentioned he may not be done adding to the roster before spring training, any ideas of what he may still have up his sleeve? Is bringing back wong still an option?
    Within the next week I think.
    Probably as soon as Molina is done playing in the Caribbean Series.
    It's just a matter of time.
    He's pumped about playing with Arenado, like Wainwright was. 
    Do you know if there’s been any contact between shildt and arenado since the trade? It’d be interesting to know what their thoughts are on lineups, strategies, etc. similar to shildt and goldschmidt talking about baserunning.
    Shildt was not on the Zoom introduction today.
    I wouldn't read too much into that, but I bring it up because that question I'm sure would have been asked.
    The hypothetical lineup tinkering just got a lot more interesting and appealing.
    I’m not going to be delusional and hope for wong or a big outfield bat but do you think there’s a chance they’re looking at starting pitching depth? The pitching is strong but there are still some question marks.
    That would be a twist.
    They seem pretty set on their pitching depth.
    But again, as Mozeliak stressed from the end of the offseason -- even when folks didn't believe he was going to do anything -- they are going to keep monitoring things.
    If they see a player that they feel can be had at a price that is too good to pass up, they can strike.
    DeWitt said today that Arenado was an "opportunity that could not be passed up" and that it was "incumbent" on the team to make that move when it became clear it could be done.
    There could be other, smaller-level moves like that available in this market, where only a few teams are trying to get after it.
    The Cardinals are now one of the teams trying to get after it.
    Mozeliak has said he still plans on a lower payroll, though. It's hard to believe they acquired Arenado with a lower payroll, but they did. And remember he's basically playing for free in year one because the Cards got about $50 mill from the Rox.
    Benfred!

    What an awesome time for STL sports. Just wait until the XFL has some announcements after the Super Bowl (my guess) and it will get even better. We should be thankful for our sports owners here in town. We are very lucky. I just want to say, that the crow I am eating tastes pretty good.
    That's a smart prediction about timing of XFL announcements.
    Today was a big day for Cardinals chairman Bill DeWitt Jr. He had been beaten up lately, and some of the lumps were fair. The Cards are going on 10 seasons without a new ring, after all. The last five seasons, while winning seasons, have been not what fans have come to expect. DeWitt not too long ago stuck his foot in his mouth with that comment about owning a team not being very profitable. He realized that did not come across the way he hoped. And I think he knew this fan base deserved better, even during a pandemic with uncertainty about the CBA up ahead. He had said often this offseason that he appreciated Cardinals fans because he knew they could be counted on to fill the park when it was open again. I had wondered -- and asked -- if the Cardinals were moving the needle too far toward expecting fans to fill the stadium without giving them compelling reasons to do just that. There's a fine line between appreciating loyal fans and taking advantage of them. Well, this move gives people a reason to come. For what the Cards hope will be years to come.
    DeWitt nailed his comments today.
    Here's one:
    "The Cardinals are fortunate to have fans who support us year in and year out, and we have an obligation to bring them the best team possible and the best players possible. They make it possible. So, I want to thank the fans as I always do when we make a big financial commitment, because without their support we would not be able to do it."
    There is growing labor strife in MLB and MLS. It would seem likely both seasons are truncated with the MLS season looking in serious jeopardy. Do the St. Louis CITY SC owners have a stake in these negotiations? Concessions being made by both sides include amendments to future CBAs which would include seasons where CITY SC plans to compete.
    They're privy to what's going on but I don't think  you have much of a seat at the table in terms of impacting changes until you have a team on the field. As for how voting on matters would work, that's a good question. I can check into that, as it applies to an expansion team awaiting its onboarding.
    Fantastic move to get Arenado, but why stop there? This lineup still needs at least one more bat to match the power in LA, SD, and ATL. Ozuna is still on the market and coming off a great year for the Braves. A lineup where DeJong hits 6th and Yadi 7th is one that, combined with this team's pitching, can compete with any in the NL. Ben, do you think the team should make another move, and what do you see as the most missing piece?
    An Ozuna reunion would be fascinating, in part because this seems to be the kind of lineup he could really thrive in. He seems to be better when there are other big hitters around him more than being an island. He's certainly not alone in that camp. As for the likelihood of that, hard to see considering the Cardinals were OK enough with him leaving to not beat the Braves offer, which was not much better than the Cards qualifying offer Ozuna turned down. The Cards have said they want to give their current outfielders another shot at sorting things out. I tend to believe them there. If the DH comes on line, picking up a cheap but potentially powerful bat gets a lot easier. That's if the Cardinals are not committing to Matt Carpenter as DH if it comes. I could see them doing that, too. But it would be a big risk, considering his lack of production. O'Neill could get reps as a DH. Lane Thomas. Justin Williams. It could be used as a way to keep evaluating the outfielders who are not playing. Still not as good as having a proven, performing DH. That's if the NL winds up with one. We still don't know for sure, but if season started today there would not be one.
    Has anyone asked Mike Hoffman how excited he is to play in front of 1000+ home fans for the first time since leaving Ottawa?
    Rank most likely, 1 being most likely

    Molina signs 2 year
    Wong resigns
    Cardinals trade for Benitendi
    Mizzou makes sweet 16
    Slu makes sweet 16
    Blues make it to the cup
  • Molina is all but done, but I think it's one year and not two. Maybe one with option? We'll see.
    I'd put Wong ahead of trade for AB.
    Then Blues
    Then SLU. Billikens are going to have to dodge a real wrench with how COVID has mangled things.
  • Give me one reason Rockies fans should think this is a good trade
    I'm not going to lie to them.
    Good Afternoon Ben. The Cards are in need of a middle Infielder and a leadoff bat so I checked Greg Garcia's splits against RH pitching and his OBP is 370+ a lot of the years he's played and Edman tends to do better against LH pitching and we know Dejong needs more breaks so is a Greg Garcia reunion possible? Thanks for the chats.
    Love me some GG, but think the Cards would probably rather play the switch-hitting Edman every day at second than platoon him with Garcia.
    Carpenter might get some reps at second as well now that first base and third base have evey-day stars there.
    Hey Ben. Been trying to think of another “perfect fit” guy for the Cardinals now that 2 years of dreaming about Arenado has become a reality. Here me out...

    Whit Merrifield. Hard worker, under appreciated, overlooked as the stud he is Cardinals lost their 2B, don’t have a solidified leadoff guy, and kept valuable prospects from the Arenado deal.

    Am I crazy? Could it ever happen?
    The Cards have pulled off trades for Paul Goldschmidt and Nolan Arenado since 2018.
    So, lots of things are possible.
    If other teams out there continue to sell legitimate stars at discount rates, I think the Cardinals will keep trying to be in the mix for those players, especially if the rate is discounted because it's on the new team to attempt to convince the guy to stick around despite opt-outs, expiring contract, etc. 
    The Cardinals cannot offer skyscrapers and nation's best night life, but they can offer sustained relevance, and that is becoming rarer in the game it seems. For players who factor that in -- Arenado and Goldschmidt were both hungry for postseason action, for example -- it makes St. Louis quite appealing.
    The word about Merrifield has always been that the Royals ask teams for a ton in potential trade scenarios. There has been no belief he's on a discount track. At least not yet.
    I think Cards like idea of Edman at second base more than some realize, and now Carpenter can get some reps there.
    Again, who knows.
    Mozeliak is in stealth mode, and he was fanning flames a bit today with his comments about them not being done. He's having a good time. Got his swagger back. 
    BenFred, no worries about Arenado’s 2022 opt out? He could sign with the Dodgers, who might be needing a 3B about then. Also, if he plans on staying here, as he said, why the opt outs?
    It's fair to worry about. But it won't change the fact that it can't be answered for good until the time comes and he either grabs it or declines it. Twice, actually. Because he has one after 2021 and one after 2022. His comments today seemed earnest about not wanting to be anywhere else. We'll see. The union has a say in these things, too, and players have an interest in doing things that the union approves, as that's their strength as an organization. Why would Arenado give up the opt-outs? If he doesn't want to leave, he can just decline them. If he does want to leave, he can leave no questions asked. It's not usually good business to give away leverage you don't have to give away.
  • Happy Tuesday. Ben. Let's talk Blues hockey.

    Justin Faulk is on a roll, should Chief put him on the second PP unit? He is doing everything right. What say you?
    Might be worth a look. He's looking like the player who was so great in Carolina, and he was great on power play in Carolina. The Blues are currently 22nd in power play percentage. New faces are out there. Still somewhat early. But if they continue to be a bottom-10 team there it might be time to go hot-hand with Kyrou and Faulk getting some chances out there.
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